Originally Posted by poundinghooves View Post
I never knew Shetland Sheep even existed until a friend of mine got a Shetland Ram from another friend of mine. One look at Sam the Ram, and I fell madly in love! I've always wanted a sheep and Shetlands are the perfect size! I have two years of 4-H left, so I plan to buy a lamb this spring and show it this year and then as a yearling next year and then I'll breed it and let my little brother show the offspring, if it has a ewe. So I'm just wondering, does anyone have Shetland Sheep? I've heard they are really hardy and usually have easy pregnancies. Also, I will probably only be able to buy one, but we are getting a couple of goats this spring (or at least that is the plan) and I have heard that goats are OK companions for sheep. Anyone have experience with keeping goats and sheep together?
I prefer not to keep goats and sheep together, however many people do so successfully. Make sure they get separate grain/minerals (remember, sheep have low copper tolerance). My largest concern with keeping animals together is the size difference, most goats (or other breeds of sheep) are much larger and I don't want the sheep getting bullied.
Any advice on showing sheep? This will be my first year in the sheep project (I wasn't raised a stock show kid, unfortunately
) and though I've showed horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, alpacas, poultry and even a guinea pig in 4-H, I know nothing
about showing sheep.
I haven't done any showing at this point in time. As said, ideally you show Shetlands against other Shetlands. Unfortunately you need to be in the right niche for this. If you can't, at least try to show against other wool breeds. I don't know the details about how 4H works, but if you're against other meat breeds it's not really fair. Shetlands are known for excellent
meat but it is not their primary focus (they are multi purpose, but of course used primarily for wool these days) and they are small and slow growing and don't have the attributes looked for in "meat" breeds. I wouldn't make showing your primary focus. You want to show them with a decent amount of fleece, not close cut like the meat breeds. Showing is pretty much get them clean, fluff up the fleece, and go. There isn't any prepping the way you see for other breeds, they are pretty much au natural. Cutest thing EVER was a 10lb spotted ewe lamb on a stool
in a finals class with all the big guys. Typically you don't show them so small though lol. A GOOD Shetland judge looks at the sheep as a whole and primarily fleece, but a LOT of shows just have "sheep" judges not "Shetland" judges and they will be judged from a "meat" point of view, but as long as they are all the same breed it is what it is.
Has anyone ever milked sheep? I've heard it makes excellent cheese.
No, I haven't. I have several very milky ewes though, it could definitely be a possibility. Of course, if that is your focus you should go with a milk breed.
If anyone has Shetlands, about how much wool do you get from them?
Uh... I should know this... but I don't. I will say usually 2-4lbs doing some quick research. I'd say mine are probably on the heavier end of that, but there is a LOT of variety in the breed.
Also, does anyone know of a good way to introduce sheep/goats to horses? My two minis lived with goats before, but I'm not sure how my pony would do. They wouldn't live in the pasture with the horses but would sometimes be turned out there to help eat weeds down.
My sheep area is right next to the horses main paddock. I threw them in. Horses freaked. Horses got over it, lol. They are fine. They just need to get used to each other. The sheep didn't care too much. I would just try to keep them next to each other, yet separate until they get used to it. Make sure they are OK when you put them out together. We put ours in the pasture (supervised, no sheep fence!) sometimes and there is plenty of room and no one cares, they stay far away from the horses. We do watch carefully cause if they do get too close the one guy with go after them, but they pretty much stay away.
Any advice on sheep in general (but especially Shetlands) is greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Hope I helped! Feel free to PM me if you have any questions!!